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Mangrove at a coastal area. In the background: a sailing ship.

The oceans are our planet's largest ecosystem and cover 71 per cent of the Earth's surface. They provide people with a source of food and act as transport routes; they constitute a source of energy, are home to countless forms of life, produce oxygen, influence the climate and do much more besides. However, they are also increasingly faced with dangers such as pollution, overfishing, oceanic warming and acidification. more

On a large green field, natural gas is extracted from the ground by a drilling rig.

The German Cabinet introduced a set of stringent fracking regulations on 1 April. The legislative package contains bans to protect drinking water, health and nature in certain regions and also far-reaching restrictions on fracking in shale, clay, marl and coal seam rocks. In addition, the package contains supplementary, stricter regulations on conventional natural gas and crude oil extraction. more

Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has said she wants to maintain the scope for returning water and wastewater management to the municipalities. At the opening of the Wasser Berlin International trade fair, Hendricks stated that the Federal Government will ensure in future too, that tasks of general interest service provision can be carried out by local authorities. more

A bend in the river, meadows and a sun-illuminated tree.

The Federal Environment Ministry welcomes the entry into force of the UN Watercourses Convention. Hitherto unwritten principles of international law on good neighbourly conduct between riparian countries of transboundary water bodies will be firmly enshrined in and further developed through the Convention, which entered into force on 17 August 2014. more

A crumpled plastic bottle located on a beach, beside running a crab

At the annual meeting of the OSPAR Convention in Portugal on 27 June, the countries bordering the North-East Atlantic agreed on a regional action plan. The bundle of measures contained in the action plan will ensure that in future considerably less litter enters North East Atlantic and also that some of the litter already in the sea is removed. more

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